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True Crime Obsessed Patrick Hinds and Gillian Pensavalle Are The Duo Every Podcasters Needs In Their Life

Who would have thought Patrick Hinds and Gillian Pensavalle would  have meet through the world of theatre and become household names. Both having Broadway podcasts back in the day, the duo quickly came together to create a funny true crime podcast called True Crime Obsessed. Patrick Hinds and Gillian are the creators and co-hosts of True Crime Obsessed. True Crime Obsessed explores true crime films and the world perspective of series like “Fyre Fraud”, “The Ted Bundy Tapes”, and “The Case Against Adnan Syed”. Patrick is one of the few openly gay podcasters in the true crime space to voice his perspective of this genre. Patrick and Gillian recently did a live podcast show in Brooklyn. True Crime Obsessed has changed their lives completely becoming a true podcaster was their dream come true. True Crime Obsessed can be streamed on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts. Clichè Magazine chats with the podcast hosts about their favorite episodes, what’s next for the show, and their recent live podcast show. 

Clichè: What inspired the two of you to start working on a podcast together?

GILLIAN: Like I always say, the genesis of True Crime Obsessed is what is at the base of everyone’s interest in true crime: Broadway. Patrick and I both had Broadway podcasts (Patrick had Theater People and Broadway Backstory and I have and still produce The Hamilcast: A Hamilton Podcast on a weekly basis), so we met through the theatre world. We became friends and started meeting up for happy hour a few times a week and suddenly our Broadway conversations transformed into true crime conversations. One day I had this idea to start a true crime podcast solving the Zodiac case. I took it really seriously and called Patrick and pitched him the idea. We met up the next day, I ended up going to the library (a la Robert Graysmith), and even made a logo for it.

But then we – smartly – realized that we weren’t up to the task. There are much more qualified people to solve that case, so we scrapped that specific idea but still wanted to do a true crime podcast.

PATRICK: I had really wanted to make a super smarty-pants / NPR-ish podcast in three segments: an interview segment, a review segment, and a true crime news segment (whatever that means!). We actually recorded a pilot episode that had all three segments. When we sat down to record the ‘review’ segment, we were talking about the documentary The Imposter which tells the story of the disappearance of a 13-year-old boy named Nicholas Barclay and THE FULL GROWN 23-YEAR-OLD MAN who pretended to be Nicholas three years after Nicholas’s disappearance. As we were talking, Gillian was cracking me up with her commentary about the idiot private detective, the FRENCH, 23-YEAR-OLD imposter who the Barclay family fully believed was the missing 13-year-old American. When we were done, I realized that if we could find a way to provide truly hilarious commentary on true crime documentaries while at the same time being advocates for the victims and NEVER laughing at the actual crime, we could create something that had truly never been done before in the podcast space. And thus, True Crime Obsessed was born.

How has True Crime Obsessed changed the both of you?

GILLIAN: I mean this sincerely when I say that True Crime Obsessed has absolutely changed my life completely. I get to be a full-time podcaster and that is a dream come true. Seriously, I can’t believe I get to say that. We get to do what we love and travel the country (and world?!) and learn on a weekly basis. It’s such hard work but it’s also so much fun, and we really do learn something new every week. Whether it’s a case we didn’t know about, or something weird/horrible/fascinating about our justice system, or learning about a community that doesn’t get due attention or respect, every recording is an education.

PATRICK: My answer is largely the same. This podcast is the outlet I never knew I needed. I get to scream-laugh every week with a person I truly love working with, and we get to shine a light on—and keep the conversation going about—cases the world truly needs to know about. It’s crazy to me that this podcast started out as a hobby project that we recorded in my living room. We’ve now grown to be an industry leader with office space and a recording studio in midtown Manhattan—it’s CRAZY! The last thing I’ll say on this is that I love love love that we’re able to make people laugh during this difficult time in the world—that is something both Gillian and I take very seriously.

How do you choose what to cover for your podcast?

GILLIAN: There are a lot of factors. From a production standpoint, we look for documentaries that hover around the 90-minute mark. We learned the hard way that the longer a documentary is, the harder it is for us to cover in a concise and straightforward way. We also try to mix up the topic, so to speak. Not just for variety but for our own mental health. It’s hard to live in this super dark headspace, so if we’ve had a long few weeks of murder and assault and kidnapping, we’ll take a breather with something like an art heist or jewel thieves or a politician’s downfall. We also want to tell stories that aren’t as well known, as a way to bring awareness to people and community and cases. We’ve covered a lot of LGBTQ+ documentaries because that is one of the many communities that is often overlooked in the true crime genre.

PATRICK: Yeah, I’ll just add that we always hope for interesting characters. Whether it’s corrupt cops from Queens or Tammy Faye Bakker, we always like when we can feature strange, ridiculous, or just downright hilarious personalities. This is not a requirement, obviously, but it can make for a great vocal impression from Gillian which almost always results in me scream-laughing and falling on the floor.

Patrick, how does it feel to be one of the few LGBTQ voices discussing true crime?

PATRICK: You know, one of the reasons I wanted to get into podcasting in general (all the way back in 2009) was because I wasn’t hearing many podcasters that sounded like me—unabashedly gay—and I wanted to change that. I was making Broadway podcasts at the time, so being and sounding unabashedly gay was a great fit! When Gillian and I decided to make a true crime podcast, it really was a question for me—would people be turned off by my tone of voice and the fact that “girl” is every other word out of my mouth. Honestly, at the time, I didn’t know of a single true crime podcast with an LGBTQ host (I’m not saying there wasn’t one, I just didn’t know of any!), so I was very curious to see how it was going to go. From the very first episode, our audience embraced me and as we became better known, the true crime podcasting community has really embraced me / us as well, which has been truly thrilling. One of my greatest joys in making True Crime Obsessed with Gillian is the fact that we’re able to cover documentaries that tell the stories of the LGBTQ community. Whether It’s The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson about the beloved trans activist / icon who was murdered in NYC in 1992 or Matthew Shepard Is A Friend of Mine about the young man who was murdered in Wyoming in 1998 for being gay, it is a true honor to share these stories and to keep the conversations about them going.

Are there any podcasts you would like to collaborate with?

GILLIAN: I just discovered a podcast called That’s Spooky, and they are a couple from Canada who cover all things spooky from true crime to haunted dolls. I’m only a few episodes in but they can seamlessly reference Broadway and the Golden Girls so I feel like maybe there’s something there.

PATRICK: We’ve been doing live shows for a long time and we just did our very first live show with another podcast and it was THRILLING, so I’d like to do more of that. I’d love to do a live show with the Undisclosed team—they cover wrongful convictions. Their podcast is pretty serious, but we know them in real life and they’re all actually hilarious, so I think a crossover live show could be magical. I’m also obsessed with politics, so could we pretty please do a crossover live show with Rachel Maddow or the Pod Save America guys? PLEASE??!!

What is next for the future of the podcast?

PATRICK AND GILLIAN: We have a LOT of very exciting things in the hopper that we can’t talk about just yet. But here are a few things we can say: We are in the process of putting together our 2020 tour. We’re hoping to play one night on Broadway in 2020. Gillian is continuing to make her fabulous podcast The Hamilcast which is allllllll about the smash hit musical Hamilton, and Patrick has another exciting true crime-related podcast in the works that we can’t yet reveal details about – but more news about that coming soon!

Can you share some of your favorite episodes you have recorded for your show?

GILLIAN: I’m a born and raised New Yorker so I loved covering The Seven Five, about corrupt NYC cops back in the 70s. It was a lot of absurdity, a lot of over the top accents, and no one was raped or murdered. It was just a wild ride and one of the rare times true crime was actually fun.

PATRICK: I have a soft spot for all of our LGBTQ episodes like the ones I mentioned earlier and also How to Survive A Plague about the AIDS crisis and The Times of Harvey Milk. But I also love our episode on Grizzly Man about a man who spent fifteen years living with the bears in the Alaskan wilderness, and I LOVE our two episodes on Oxygen’s The Disappearance of Maura Murray.

Can you tell us about your recent live podcast show in Brooklyn? Will there be more live shows?

GILLIAN: We made our debut at the Bell House! It’s always fun doing shows on our home turf (well, home turf adjacent) and it was the first time we did a show with other people on stage with us! We teamed up with The Maura Murray Boys™ Lance Reenstierna and Tim Pilleri, who made the Missing Maura Murray podcast, and Maggie Freleng, who hosted Oxygen’s The Disappearance of Maura Murray, which also featured Tim and Lance. We covered the Oxygen series on the podcast and it’s just over the top and very Oxygen-y so we had fun talking about the case and… kinda teasing them a little bit about it. But it was all in good fun!

PATRICK: Yeah, when we covered the Oxygen documentary series on the podcast, I became OBSESSED with Maggie and the boys. We got to meet and hang out with them at CrimeCon this past year and so when they agreed to do a live show with us, I was SUPER excited, but I made it clear that the show was going to mostly be Gillian and me making fun of them. Our live shows are CRAZY—super high energy, super fun and funny, AND our listeners are DRINKERS, so it’s also always a party. This show at the Bell House was exactly that. For Gillian and me, it was the last show on our 2019 tour and it was the freaking BELL HOUSE, which is where all my hero-podcasts have done their live shows, so it was a HUGE honor to be there and to be sold out there. It was just incredible.

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True Crime Obsessed Patrick Hinds and Gillian Pensavalle Are The Duo Every Podcasters Needs In Their Life. Photo Credits: Curtis and Cort Photography, Dianna Bush Photography

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